Coenie: Scrumming comes first
Coenie Oosthuizen (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - He may be playing superbly with his brute strength and goose-steps in the Super Rugby tournament, but Cheetahs prop sensation Coenie Oosthuizen is still not satisfied with his form.
The promising young Oosthuizen is well aware of his shortcomings and determined to improve very week. The Lions may well feel the brunt of that on Friday.
The young Springbok prop showed with his excellent performance against the Brumbies at the weekend that he has reached maturity at senior level earlier than most props.
While the 22-year-old is viewed mostly as a future prospect, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will probably make a mistake if he does not take him to the Rugby World Cup.
Apart from Oosthuizen's individual form, the Lions will be up against the Cheetahs' strongest front row this year. Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss makes a difference in the visitors' front row and prop WP Nel is also playing good rugby.
Oosthuizen says he's striving for a faultless performance and that is why he can still improve.
"I'm not 100% satisfied with my form. There are definitely still things I need to work on. But I'm not focusing too much on my own game and am more concerned about what we achieve as a team. Fortunately we got a good result against the Brumbies and we want to take that confidence into the game against the Lions," he said.
While he's known for his bullocking runs and uncompromising play, the Bok prop views scrumming as his first priority.
"I always want my scrumming 100% right. I conceded too many penalties at the beginning of the competition. I was eager not too concede any penalties against the Brumbies, but unfortunately gave one away," he said.
He believes that the stricter refereeing of the scrums have led to looseheads being penalised more.
"That is why it's the loosehead's job these days to ensure that penalties aren't conceded at the scrums."
The former Grey College pupil believes the Cheetahs scrum has improved, but that they cannot relax.
"We started off poorly. There is not one weekend where you are able to relax. The Lions scrum well. I have respect for them and we will have to be at our best."
Oosthuizen is delighted about the return of Strauss, who had been out for a while with a hand injury. Strauss returned to the starting line-up against the Brumbies.
"Adriaan and I have a good understanding," said Oosthuizen.
"He's one of the best hookers as far as scrumming is concerned."
15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Dylan des Fontain, 12 Doppies La Grange (captain), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco Van der Merwe, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Phillip Burger, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius; 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Substitutes: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Walti Vermeulen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Hennie Daniller